A rendering of the new Seattle Center Observation Wheel // (c) 2010 Seattle Center
Seattle Center has announced an agreement with Great City Attractions of Birmingham, England, to erect a giant observation wheel as part of the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.
The observation wheel is slated to open on April 21, 2011, 50 years to the day since the 1962 World's Fair opened date in Seattle. Operating year-round, it will close at the end of the center's Next Fifty celebration on Oct. 21, 2012.
The 200-foot tall observation wheel harkens back to the rides of the World's Fair. It also represents a nod to a future vision for Seattle's central gathering place. The wheel's fully enclosed, modern and climate controlled capsules will hold up to eight passengers and provide 360 degree panoramic views of Seattle Center and the surrounding areas.
The wheel will be transported to and installed at Seattle Center at minimal cost to the city, and a share of the revenues generated by the ride will support Next Fifty activities.
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the wheel to Seattle Center," said Seattle Center director Robert Nellams. "It will enliven our new public space, provide an additional reason for Seattle residents and tourists to visit our beautiful campus and help support the six-month Next Fifty anniversary."
The tallest of its kind on the west coast, the observation wheel will be one of several new attractions at Seattle Center during the Next Fifty celebration.